(CNN)The French photographer at the center of a sexual harassment scandal that forced the postponement of this year's Nobel Prize for Literature has been charged with two counts of rape, Swedish prosecutor Christina Voigt said in a statement Tuesday.
Man at center of Nobel Prize sexual harassment scandal charged with rape
Jean-Claude Arnault, who has close links with the Swedish Academy, the body that awards the prestigious prize, is accused of raping a woman in Stockholm twice during 2011.
"My assessment is that the state of evidence is robust and sufficient for prosecution," Voigt said.
Arnault's lawyer Bjorn Hurtig told CNN affiliate Expressen that his client denies the charges. "He is both disturbed and resigned," Hurtig said. "He says this is totally wrong and he is completely innocent of the allegations."
On May 4, the Swedish Academy, responsible for awarding the prize since its inception more than a century ago, announced that this year's award would be postponed for the first time in 75 years following a crisis within the academy over the handling of allegations against Arnault.
Arnault, a leading cultural figure in Sweden, is facing multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment, first reported in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter late last year. A total of 18 women spoke to the newspaper accusing Arnault of a range of sexual misconduct between 1996 and 2017.
It is also alleged that he touched Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria inappropriately at a Swedish Academy event in 2006. CNN has not independently verified any of the claims and Arnault denies all allegations, Hurtig told CNN last month.
The academy is also under fire for contravening its own conflict of interest regulations by providing funding to the cultural forum run by Arnault and his wife Katarina Frostenson, an academy member until two months ago.
In the wake of the revelations -- and an investigation that found there had been "unacceptable behavior by (Arnault) in the form of unwanted intimacy" -- six members of the Swedish Academy stepped down, including Frostenson and its head Sara Danius, leaving just 10 active members.
Explaining the academy's decision to postpone this year's Nobel Prize, Anders Olsson, the academy's acting permanent secretary said, "We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the academy before the next laureate can be announced." In a statement, he said the academy was acting "out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation and the general public."
The decision does not affect the other Nobel prizes, which are awarded separately. This year's literature laureate will be announced in 2019, the academy said in May.